Well I just saw a second Meta question expressing strong ill-will for this site after first witnessing this, seemingly well-trodden, battlefield. Given that I am already weary of it, I can only assume that others are much more so, but bear with me.
Breaking this down into as simple a a description as possible:
A substantial number of users are arriving here with a different/false understanding of what this site is for; this results in a lot of closed questions and consequent animosity.
There are two parts to this:
- People wanting this site to be something it's not; i.e disagreeing with / not understanding the site's objective
- People disagree with the site' enforcement; i.e. thinking that valid questions are being downvoted.
I would like to discount the second option as a valid grounds for debate since it seems to have been quite categorically answered by MichaelT's answer to a previous Meta question. Even if there is the odd question that is within scope that is getting voted down, this is a smaller problem compared to item 1.
There have been comments about poor communication when down-voting and some quite bitter words about specific users; I don't care about any of that because I think that it is all a symptom, not the cause of this phenomenon.
How can we better communicate the site's purpose?
Below are all current ideas as to what could be done. If you have any other ideas either edit this question or post them in an answer.
CN | Change Name
Self-explanatory, Pogrammers.SE become OtherName.SE.
ST | Add Sub-title
Add a sub-title to the website's header to better describe the site's purpose (e.g. Programmers: Architecture, Planning, & Concepts).
SA | Make Scope More Accessible
Display the scope in a simply-worded form next to the 'ask a question' interface; this makes it more likely users will read it before posting.
BL | Add Blurb
Add a descriptive blurb that is displayed to users before they are able to post their first question. Make this focus-stealing; i.e. background is greyed-out and the user must take an action to continue (e.g. click 'got it').
CS | Change Scope
Change the scope to include some of the areas that are currently being down-voted as off-topic.
CE | Change Enforcement
Actively cultivate questions to improve them; narrow their focus if they are too broad, make them more abstract of they are too narrow (i.e. they are debugging specific code instead of asking about architecture/concepts), etc. This would mean slower closing of questions and the encouragement of users to learn about what is/is-not suitable for this site.
CH | Change Help Center
Create a series of Meta Q&As that are designed to help user improve their answers. This way people can post links to those discussions rather than forever trying to discuss the same things over and over
So... votes, thoughts, ideas, scathing indictments... let the games begin.